A senior at Wilson High School, Adaiya Granberry has a 3.97 grade point average and higher expectations.
“I got the first ‘B’ ever in a class last semester, and it didn’t sit well with me,” she said.
What about the idea of a ‘C’?
She shuddered. “Oh, I couldn’t even deal with that. I’ve never had one. Until that ‘B,’ I’d only ever had two A-minuses my whole life.”
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Now 17 and close to graduating, Granberry is the senior class president and a volunteer at the D.A. Gonyea Branch of the Boys & Girls Club — a payback for all the happy hours she spent there as a Downing Elementary School student.
“I came here, made friends and great memories,” Granberry said, sitting in the club recently. “I remember hanging out in that corner with friends, making up rap lyrics and secret handshakes.
“There’s a comfort level when all the kids you’re with come from where you come from. It was like being surrounded by kids doing great things.”
She returned to the Gonyea club when her parents suggested two years ago that she do some volunteer work.
The Junior Staff program allowed her to work with children much as adults once worked with her, helping with homework and serving as a role model.
That work, along with her scholastic achievements, led to her being named the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound Youth of the Year last month. The title came with a $3,500 scholarship and the opportunity to pursue the club’s state title March 25 in Seattle and another $5,000.
That could lead to more scholarship money. The National Youth of the Year is awarded $50,000 — and Granberry figures to need it.
“I’ve applied to 19 colleges and haven’t heard back from them all yet, but of those I have heard from, I’m leaning toward Boston College,” she said.
She has stayed close to her extended family, even through some challenging times that included her parents’ divorce.
“I’m close to my family — my mom and stepfather, my dad. My parents are supportive. All of them!” she said. “I have two younger siblings and three sets of grandparents.
“I think they’d love for me go to college closer to home, but they know I want to explore the world a little more when I go. I want to do things on my own.”
Granberry is the type of student a school principal can’t help but notice. Wilson Principal Dan Besett draws a comparison to baseball legend Willie Mays, the subject of one of his favorite biographies, “Modest Champion.”
“Adaiya excels in everything and is so talented and humble and sweet,” Besett said. “She’s going to go off and do great things and make us proud.”
Her senior year has been hectic. Along with the class presidency, she’s played soccer and, one day a month, attended a special class at the University of Washington campus in Seattle.
“Young Economists of Color. It’s one Saturday a month, but it goes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., so it’s a full day,” she said.
Along with college applications, Granberry has applied for scholarships and grants, each requiring hours of preparation and paperwork.
Small wonder her summer plans are to have no plans at all.
“I want to just relax before college starts.”
Interacting at the club with elementary school-age children has taken her back to her own childhood and given her just a touch of adult cynicism.
“At that age I was probably evil and catty,” Granberry said with a laugh. “The kids I’m around here now are wonderful. They do have more electronic technology than I did growing up.
“I didn’t get a cellphone until sixth grade.”